Talk Nation Radio for August 6, 2009
Dr. Alice Rothchild, author of, 'Broken Promises, Broken Dreams, Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience.' This is the second part of our interview with the founder of Jewish Voice for Peace, Boston.
During our interview July 27, 2009, Dr. Alice Rothchild spoke about the significance of Israeli settlements when it comes to any peace talks or other kinds of negotiations. She also addressed the health care crisis for Palestinians, especially women, who often must give birth at home in unplanned natural pregnancies due to a lack of ability to cross checkpoints to get to a hospital.
She also warns Jews and others about evangelical leaders who would call on them to make Aliya, a spiritual journey to Israel:
'I would say that making an all with people whose main goal is to get you there so there can be an apocalypse and you can either die or convert is a really dubious kind of decision and that Jews who do that have basically sold their soul. And a lot of settlements are funded by the evangelical right. So you have to ask, with friends like this? What are you doing? It's another one of those serious problematic things in political history'.
Dr. Rothchild expressed these concerns in response to our questions about Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder of Wings of Eagles, a group that raises money through infomercials asking Christians to give money to pay air fare to bring Jews from Russia, Ethiopia, and other places, to Israel. The fund raising videos feature former Watergate felon, Charles [Chuck] Colson, singer Pat Boon, and US Senator Joseph Lieberman, endorsing the Rabbi. Some of the fundraising videos began with the words, end days' repeated three times.
As of March 2008 in Gaza, health care conditions had deteriorated to the point where many complicated surgeries could no longer be done, that according to a Time Magazine story by Tim McGirk. Palestinian children face starvation, stunted growth, and the entire population faces extreme risks from diseases like tuberculosis, which had risen nearly 60% by 2003. Still the blockade continues and health care workers cannot get through with medical supplies or to offer their assistance.
PT 2, stands alone
Produced by Dori Smith
Talk Nation Radio Studios, Storrs, CT
Dr. Alice Rothchild is an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, and she has devoted much of her medical career to working on behalf of poor and under served communities. She has been a tireless advocate for woman's rights, and was Medical Director of the Womanâs Community Health Center in Cambridge, Mass. during the 1970s. She then co-founded the non profit medical organization, Urban Woman and Child Health, Inc. in Jamaica Plain, Mass. and later joined the staff of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She became a member of the staff of Harvard Community Health Plan, now Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.
In Israel and Palestine, the sides have been drawn over 60 years of occupation. Long held beliefs, prejudices and fears, are be passed on to the next generation. The facts about a given offer that could bring peace tend to be victims of a battle for public opinion in Israel and the US. The history of past negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians has been overshadowed by rhetoric and sensational news reporting.
We spoke with Dr. Rothchild on July 27th and at the time the White House was asking Israeli leaders for a freeze on settlements as a way to help restart peace talks with Palestinians. In the time since there have been reports of a compromise that would allow Israel to continue with plans for 2,500 more structures. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlements have become more aggressive. On Sunday August 2nd, Israeli security forces entered the homes of two Palestinian families as they slept, dragging them out of their homes and then moving all of their belongings out. Within hours, Israeli settlers moved into the homes. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the eviction as a provocation.
Since 1967, 35% of east Jerusalem has been appropriated for construction of 50,000 housing units for Jews, according to The Guardian magazine of London. At the same time fewer than 600 housing units were built for Palestinian residents with government support. Much has been said about hopes for peace, however, particularly over the Bush/Cheney years, settlement construction has been expanded with some half a million Jewish settlers now living in land that had belonged to Palestinians.